Mind-numbing metrics: How algorithms help marketers get back to being creative

by Jonathan Gardner, VP communications, Turn

It often seems like marketers don’t have much time to actually market. Especially when most hours in the day are spent manually measuring mind-numbing metrics like viewability, completion and other important video KPIs. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the creative or gratifying parts of the job.

At Turn we don’t believe that marketers should be worrying about whether their ads were viewed when they could be focusing on the big picture. To that end we created performance algorithms that achieve up to three goals at once, freeing our clients from rote tasks and allowing them to judge whether their ads have been effective, rather than just if they were seen.

We recently worked with a major adult-beverage brand that wanted to achieve maximum impact with their video messaging and drive a boost in purchase intent among their target audience – drinking-age consumers. They had three measurable metrics in mind — audience reach, high viewability and engagement — and each was equally important.

To help them in that mission, all impressions were optimized to target adults over 21 years of age, as verified by Nielsen Digital Ad Rankings (DAR). A full quarter or more of those impressions had to be both audible and viewed to completion. It might seem counterintuitive, but a completed impression isn’t necessarily viewable; if you optimize for a completion rate, you won’t necessarily get good viewability. On the other hand, however, viewable impressions are more likely to play through to completion, so it’s always a good idea to optimize to both.

We used AVOC (Audible and Viewable on Completion) to verify that the viewability and engagement parameters set for the campaign were met. And because of the possibility of an alcoholic-beverage brand running afoul of government standards or being stigmatized by a connection with negative news or undesirable content, the highest brand safety measures possible were applied, and only legal-drinking-age compliant video content was targeted. It is critical that brands work with platforms that allow third-party semantic monitoring and blocking tools in order to avoid potential backlash, a lesson recently learned byby brands advertising on YouTube.

Algorithmic optimization helped our brand partner achieve all their goals. Our built-in, demo-targeting algorithm and the AVOC algorithm were used in tandem. To meet the brand’s impression quality standards, third-party brand safety measures were applied in addition to our own platform-wide fraud prevention program, which is powered by the gold-standard DoubleVerify.

In the end, the campaign achieved overwhelmingly positive results, beating the brand’s reach goals substantially. Ninety percent of the impressions reached adults 21 and over, and 50 percent were measured as audible and viewable upon completion (twice the industry average for AVOC).

Our programmatic technology did the heavy lifting and work that made those impressive numbers possible. Unlike TV buys, where there’s simply no way to figure out if people are actually in the room when the ad runs, digital video provides a wealth of answers and data for marketers. There’s just no reason, however, to sit and do the painstaking counting yourself. There are many better uses of your time, especially when Turn multi-goal optimization algorithms are at your disposal.

For more, see the full case study.

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